29 June 2009

Colette Patterns



I have just discovered Colette sewing patterns through Pink Chalk Fabric. I'm in love with the ink and watercolor drawings of the clothes on their patterns and how the model has been painted in a wash of color. Completely lovely. The one below is called Parfait, and I'm determined, once and for all, to sew myself something wearable because of this pattern. Colette's blog is here, and designer Sarai Mitnick's blog Sweet Sassafras is here. How come I've never seen these patterns before? I wonder if the use of hand-painted illustration is part of a new collection. I'm off to investigate, but if anyone knows, do tell!

24 June 2009

Happy Curtains




On this hot, humid, and tiring day I need happy curtains, and nothing but happy curtains will do. So, dear friends, here are the curtains I hung a few days ago. It feels like I have a new living room. I just can't get enough of magenta, orange and red.

18 June 2009

Luna Park


This photo from LeCool Magazine Istanbul edition caught my eye. the aqua green color does it for me, that's for sure. But also the vintage feel is great, and the way everyone's suspended in air.

I am making yogurt this morning (heat four kg of unpasteurized milk on the stove until boiling; let boil for five minutes then turn off; wait until it cools and add a tsp of thick yogurt to the milk, stir; cover partly with lid and wrap entire pot with towels for remainder of day; at night put into fridge; voila!), and did some sweat-inducing house cleaning like mopping the balcony and vacuuming under the carpets. If any of my friend from college are reading my blog, they probably won't believe me. Yesterday I hung new curtains that I am contemplating ironing (Can you believe it? I know!) but like the kind of natural way they hang. I'll snap some pics, promise.

You'd think that if I had time to clean my balcony I'd also have time to get to the pile of things overflowing my desk. Most of the time my office/studio is the last room to get cleaned, but I hate to disturb the karma dust which helps propel projects along. That being said, I am far more tidy than I used to be in the studio in graduate school.

Why a beautiful photo prompted me to discuss my cleaning methods, I have no idea. But I'm wondering if others might have an interesting Thursday tale to tell? By the way, the smell of warm milk has filled the house. It's absolutely delicious and homey.

15 June 2009

Turquoise Breakfast


My favorite color made an appearance this morning at breakfast. Between Devrim's shirt, our coffee mugs, bowls and the kitchen walls, it was a turquoise dream come true. If only all our breakfasts were this colorful.

Sugar Pink


The sugar pink of this spread in June's Elle Decor Turkey transports me back to my bedroom when I was thirteen. It was on the top floor of our new house that we had moved to from St. Paul, MN to Wauwatosa in Milwaukee. There was a pink tiled bathroom on that floor and the attic. Someone had decided there was room for that bathroom and a garret bedroom with built in trunks under a window. Because the roof was so prominent, there wasn't one spot where the wall was taller than me, so I had these low walls against which I put a desk, and my books on built-in bookshelves painted white. The wall behind my bed I papered in a kind of country floral rose, with muted purples, mauves and green vine. From my window I could see over everybody else and down into backyards. It was the perfect room for a 13 year old girl, but we moved by the time I was 15. I still remember the carpeting being blue and plush. I wonder if the occupants of the house now have ever replaced the pink shower stall with a monthly breast exam sticker stuck to the tile that I was fascinated by. At 13, I had to wonder. My dad's bathroom was all over green tile. It was a fantastic house excepting the 'updates' like wall to wall carpeting.

This issue is still on the shelves until the end of this month if anyone would like a copy. There are some other delicious spreads in there, too.

13 June 2009

Rainy Day Pages


Just after having said we were having sunny days perfect for photo ops, I woke up to rain drenched sidewalks and brilliantly green trees and grass from an early morning storm. Not the ideal day for hanging laundry outside, but I've got a down comforter on the line that I hope won't take three days to dry. Rainy days make me want to cozy up and make things more than on sunny days, and I've taken a few pictures of recent notebook pages in progress. I'm never sure when a page is 'done' but it usually happens after I see enough disparate things working together, like mixed and matched patterns, contrasting colors, pale palettes against complicated surfaces. I usually use a graphic notebook or line free sketch pad, but this time I found a kraft paper journal at a stationery store and thought I'd give it a try.


If you journal and sketch, what kind of notebook do you prefer?

12 June 2009

Friday Photos at Home

I've blogged more this week than I usually do, and I think it has something to do with the quality of light for taking photos. Winter is drab and dreary here, and now I feel like everything from my mood to the world outside has improved with a little sun therapy. This morning I was thinking about how when I started this blog in 2005, it was to promote my handbags and my newly founded business, and to focus on design in Turkey. So much has changed since then because I am not making handbags right now, nor promoting a business. This is a relief to me, and blogging now has become more of a joy than a chore.

The photo above has a very casually pasted family portrait on our entryway wall. It is covering a hole in the wall where I tried to nail into cement. Bad idea. I need a pro. It is of my Great-Great Grandfather Sambur and his grandchildren. The tiny girl with the curly blonde hair on his lap (the only blond one of the crew of Jewish children) is my maternal grandmother, Edna. I should frame this photo, but fortunately I have two; one is tucked away between tissue for framing, and this is a replica.

Here's a high contrast glimpse into our living room. If you live in a house with rectangular-shaped rooms, you will understand my plight while taking photos. There is no good angle, everything is narrow and hard to get into the frame. I held my camera up high and happened to get a slice of our entryway light fixture (a pretty cut glass purple thing that I just had to have) in the process. It makes our living room look otherworldly and far more modern than it really is.

Have a happy Friday. I'm off to savor the last few minutes I might have on my own in a quiet house before I pick up the kids and my normally hectic pace continues.

11 June 2009

Wednesday Pillow


Say hello the newest member of our pillow family, sewn yesterday out of Anna Maria Horner's Good Folks fabric. When I got this 1/2 yard in the mail it was begging to be made into a pillow. It would have taken much less time to make had I thought about a closure before I started sewing, but the buttons worked out, and I like how they dress it up a little bit. Those buttons are vintage, from my mother's stash that I've kept for 2o years.

10 June 2009

Marie Claire Maison, June 09

I just participated in a recent magazine swap helped along by Holly Becker's post on decor8 and a forum on Kindred, sending magazines from Turkey to a lovely new friend in New York. I thought about how I sometimes see really gorgeous things in Turkish magazines and that they reach such a small audience. This is partly because it is in Turkish, but also because many of the spreads are regional. In major magazines like Marie Claire Maison, Elle Decor, and others, some of what I see are reused stories and interiors from UK or US versions. While interesting for Turkish readers, it doesn't excite me because I can find those same stories elsewhere. So in the spirit of sharing interiors and objects specific to Turkey, I've snapped some pics of some eye-catching pages. Above, coral and turquoise kitchen decor from Boyner.


Zodiac-inspired beding from Zorlu, from the Valeron collection. The magazine features a horoscope in its ad. While searching for a website for Zorlu that wasn't corporate, I found Dekor Türkiye. Not the prettiest website, but I can see there is more of a concern about interiors and decor being available online now in Turkey as compared to four years ago.


Cheerful kitchen accessories from a handful of places, from Ikea to Paşabahçe. I'm a huge fan of Paşabahçe for their gorgeous catalogs and range of offerings from luxurious to economic. Minus the unfortunate cake stand I didn't buy two weeks ago, I've been happy with everything from their cookery to wine glasses.


Gorgeous painted and inlaid tilework and pattern from the house of Uğur Batur on the Bosphorus.


From the same humble home (ha!), an incredibly gorgeous salon. As an aside, rather than scanning I took the photos with my Canon and it gives the illusion of being a miniature painting rather than a real space, doesn't it?

This fulfills my fantasty of having a bed draped in red velvet and surrounded by paintings. Why leave your room?


A couple from Belgium have settled in Turkey and created a dreamy, airy and sumptuous home. This is the entryway to their salon.


If I were a travel agent, and my clients had an unlimited budget, I would have them stay at this hotel and then sneak in so I could see it. Immitating a palace, this amazing hotel is suitably named Mardan Palace and is in Antalya, a resort city I have yet to see. If you are in Turkey or Turkish and you read that, you'll probably be ashamed for me that I've lived in Turkey four years and never been. Oh, well. I'm saving something for later, and my pennies for this hotel.

Check out the cushions in this close up. And that tea set. Brocade. Oh, my!

So now I'm free to pass on this magazine to a willing taker, in exchange for something fresh off the shelf in another country, and it need not be in English. Anyone? I should note that the binding on this magazine has loosened and that many of the pages are free because it is an oversized issue. If you don't mind, and want to cut up and/or post on an inspiration board, I'd be happy to send it to a new home.

01 June 2009

The Book


No, not that Book. Or the other book, the one I'm writing. This one, Home Comforts, by Cheryl Mendelson. My companion on the balcony with a cup of tea, the one I read in the living room when it is quiet in the house and I have time to think. I gave it a new cover yesterday because the original kept sliding off. It had been a long time since I'd covered a book, and I searched my closet for acetate, thinking how much I missed the crinkly sound and smooth feel of holding a library book. Not finding any, I turned to kraft paper and now it has that science or math textbook feel that is equally enjoyable.

I bought it on a whim (and it's a pretty heavy book to buy on a whim, hardcover, 885 pages), after reading reviews on Amazon while I was pregnant with my son, Topi.

Yesterday, while perusing it again, because it is the kind of book that is part instructional and part anecdotal and not to be read in one sitting from cover to cover, I realized that this is truly the most comforting book I own about keeping a home and living a rich life within it. I've struggled with domesticity my whole life, mostly rejecting it until late. Funny to say when I love to sew, cook, and be otherwise occupied at home a lot. While I wanted a clean apartment and living space, I really cared mostly about decorating. Now, when I look at design blogs and see beautiful arrangements of things, I wonder how the owner maintains such beauty. Do they really dust all those little bowls and picture frames and ceramic pieces? I have highly impractical dark wood furniture that shows every speck of dust, and I want to throw my entire collection of stuff out the window every time I swipe a rag to wipe off the dust only to watch the dust motes swirl, dance, and then settle back down into their happy home on my living room console. I have at times paid someone to help me clean, like when 8 months pregnant with a toddler, but the point is this book isn't just about cleaning. It's about living happily within the space you inhabit. It tugs on my inner apron strings, now long separated from my mother many years ago, and makes me want to be a better person, not just a better housekeeper. How's that for a book on housekeeping?


I love Martha, but I can't get engaged by her writing style. Cheryl Mendelson writes with warmth and devotion to home. I'll let others passionate about the issues fight the career vs. wife at home battle elsewhere. As a feminist, I'm pretty bored by the argument and just want to do what I want to do and if it means I relish having a clean countertop, so what? Isn't the point that being a feminist means getting to act upon your own preferences? I like stepping into a book that makes me feel less anxious about the care I put into my home, and helps me engage with a place that is very special, private, yet shared with friends, family, and guests. When I'm looking for something grounding and non-fiction, that brings me back to where I am instead of pointing me away, this is the book to which I turn.

Happy Monday to you all, whether you kick the dust bunnies under the furniture or poke corners with a dust mop for fun.